Weekend Wrap Up

Things we read while grilling:

Paris Hilton is engaged to Paris Latsis, 27, a sun-dappled Greek shipping heir. Our toast: that the couple that highlights together twilights together.

Speaking of which: The federal deficit skyrockets. Iraq keeps costing. Energy remains a headache. Time for a celebrity tax. Hiltonparis Writing in the Weekly Standard, P.J. O'Rourke says the Republicans have an easy way out: tap the $318 billion news and entertainment industry. Given the modest talent of current celebrities and the immodest example they set for impressionable youth, we'll call it a "Value Subtracted Tax," or, better, a "Family Value Subtracted Tax." And it will be calculated on the celebrity's net worth. ... Actually the resource upon which the media and entertainment industry depends is not fame but its toxic run-off, celebrity. America has vast proven reserves. I bought the May 23 issue of a magazine devoted to vulgar public notice. Its contents suggest that Sartre was ever so slightly misquoted on the nature of perdition: Hell is People. What have I ever done to deserve being exposed to Paris Hilton's Chihuahua, Tinkerbell, wearing four designer outfits? This was in a photo spread titled "Dogs Are Children Too!" Also featured was Tori Spelling's pug dressed as Little Orphan Annie and a quote from Oprah Winfrey about her cocker spaniel, Sophie: "I have a daughter."

Foreclosures are a huge problem in Philadelphia as well as in the 'burbs. The Washington Post visits a block in the Northeast where 18 of 43 row houses have been seized. An Abington neighborhood is not doing much better. Why? Homeowners have low incomes and little or no health insurance. They rely on "sub prime" mortgage brokers, which specialize in credit risks and charge as much as double the market rate. The Inquirer's March article on the original Reinvestment Fund report.

A reason to love Dartmouth. Its all-American lacrosse goalie is gay. And his teammates have been cool.

Philadelphia blogger Geeky Mom wasn't too jazzed about the coverage of Danica Patrick, the Indy 500 woman driver who came in fourth in Sunday's race: Just awful. It's like "Good for you, but get back in the kitchen please."

Know any good graffiti? Philadelphia examples needed.

The neo-Nazi story was a popular subject for us American reporters posted to Berlin. It erupted on my watch during the dog days of August, 2000, when government business had stopped and editors still hungered. Here's the latest version, but it's different: "Quietly and persistently, a new youth culture has developed in the eastern and western parts of Germany. It's Germany and xenophobic and potentially explosive." It's not written by some Auslander; it's by a six-person team of reporters from Der Spiegel.

These are fathers and mothers who came of age in the 1960s, who provided their children with a liberal upbringing, and whose greatest fear was that their kids might be taking drugs. They have been completely taken surprise by the right-wing sentiments of German young people.

Penn neurologist Anjan Chatterjee describes the brain spa of the near future to a Dana Foundation conference at the Library of Congress. Coming to a store near you: pills for playing better piano and piloting a plane?

William Young
Posted 05/31/2005 10:08:21 AM

Whoa. In no way does a lack of health insurance affect the foreclosure rate. But I'm all in favor of the celebrity tax. Let's make it one of those "progressive taxes" that goes upward in percentage as a person's fame increases. This would mean folks like Brad Pitt or Paris Hilton are in the punitive tax range of 90%, while someone like Luke Perry gets off easy at around 10%. Then we'll finally be rid of the clowns.

Paris Hilton's chihuahua's ermine jacket
Posted 03/30/2006 12:34:51 PM

A celebrity tax? "That's hot."

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